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She submits that these developments also led to a politicization of Union soldiers who became disgusted with the Peace movement and voted Republican in overwhelming numbers.
Weber reiterates throughout her study that Copperhead strength "generally ran in inverse relation to the success (or failures) of the armies" (p. This observation is not new by any means. But the strength of Weber's narrative approach is that she is able to plainly draw the correlation between successive military and political developments to the ebb and flow of antiwar sentiment.
War dissenters were a small minority of Democrats during this phase.
But these ideologically motivated constitutional conservatives would remain the core of the peace movement throughout the war.
Racist reactions to a newly defined emancipationist war and anxiety about an increasingly powerful and intrusive government that was resorting to coercion to fill the ranks of the army pushed previously lukewarm war supporters into the antiwar vanguard.This and other events caused the military picture to suddenly brighten--dissipating pessimism to the extent that a majority of northern voters sustained the president in the November elections, leading Weber to conclude that it was war fatigue rather than ideology or constitutional concerns that had given impetus to this last, largest--though short-lived--phase of the antiwar movement.Weber's overall thesis is that Copperhead war dissent was a serious business, concluding that antiwar sentiment was widespread and not a peripheral issue in the North; that war dissent turned neighbors against each other, dividing communities and spawning "surprisingly frequent" outbreaks of violence; and that war dissent hurt the Union army's ability to prosecute the war.Analysis of this kind would have added to the historiographical value of her book. id=13418 Copyright © 2007 by H-Net, all rights reserved.
A historical account must end somewhere, and Weber chooses to close hers abruptly at war's end in 1865. H-Net permits the redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online.
Early twentieth-century historical interpretation tended to follow suit, perhaps most famously in Wood Gray's 1942 classic . For some years now--pre-dating 9/11--there has seemed to be a yearning to return to the pre-Klement storyline as epitomized in Wood Gray's descriptions of dangerous and widespread Copperhead perfidies. Weber states categorically, "I wholly disagree with Klement's interpretation and conclusions about the danger [Copperhead] organizations posed to the government" (p. Yet the basis on which she disagrees with Klement seems often to be simply the conclusions drawn in decades-old secondary works rather than on any analysis of new evidence or new analysis of old evidence. For example, regarding the reputed conspiracy to use the 1864 Chicago Democratic convention as a rallying point for 50,000 Copperheads who planned to meet with Confederate infiltrators from Canada and free Confederate prisoners at Camp Douglas, Weber declares: "Such fears were not as fantastic as Klement and later historians have portrayed them" (p. In support, Weber cites not primary evidence, but rather two secondary sources--Wood Gray's 1942 study and Oscar Kinchen's 1970 study. If students of the Copperheads are looking for an item-by-item refutation of Klement's analysis of the evidence regarding the Chicago conspiracy that shows which pieces he ignored or how he misread other pieces, they will be disappointed, for generally Weber--who apparently was aiming for a general synthetic overview--does not engage the debate at that level in this instance or others.